Melanie Checknita - Instructor and Owner
I began my yoga journey 30 years ago taking classes with Gerda Krebs. Over the years yoga has woven a path through my life and my heart. Yoga has taught me that strength and flexibility in my body is important but combining it with strength and flexibility of my mind allows me to face life’s challenges with courage and a positive outlook. Yoga is something that anyone can do. It becomes a need not a want and the benefits are endless!
I have been teaching yoga for 24 years. Four and a half years ago Yoga Within opened its doors with the help and support of a very patient family! I hoped to create a nurturing, welcoming environment where people of all levels could learn, share and practice yoga together. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with wonderful instructors, students and friends who have shared in creating this space.
We are in our second year of the Yoga Within Teacher Training Program. I am a 500 hour Yoga Alliance teacher, the program is a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Program and recognized by the Yoga Association of Alberta as 200 hours towards their 300 hour program.
I am thankful and fortunate to have studied many styles and traditions of yoga with many wonderful, knowledgeable teachers:.
Gerda Krebs, Friedel Khattab, David Swenson, Nancy Gilgoff, Tim Miller, Doug Swenson, Phattabhi Jois, Shakta Kaur Kalsa, Sat Dharam Kaur, Rosemary Antze, Bernie Clark and many other over the years.
Yoga Association of Alberta certified, Yoga Alliance 500 hours, Ashtanga with David Swenson, Prenatal, Radiant Child, Healthy Breast, Okido yoga, Yin yoga.
Cassie McColl is a Certified Purna Yoga Instructor at the 2,000-hour level with the College of Purna Yoga in Bellevue, Washington. She trained for over 2 years directly with Aadil Palkhivala and Savitri, the founders of Purna Yoga. Since graduating from the college in 2008, Cassie has moved home to Edmonton.
She teaches weekly classes, workshops and weekend retreats throughout Edmonton and surrounding areas. She continues to train with Aadil and Savitri on a regular basis to bring a deeper knowledge and inspiration to her teaching. Cassie holds an undergraduate degree in Honours Physiology (2002) from the University of Alberta. For more information, look up Cassie’s website at www.thejoyofyoga.ca.
Purna YogaTM is the complete yoga that includes alignment-based asana, meditation, philosophy, nutrition and yogic lifestyle.
Over the past decade, yoga has gone from being something “I do” ... to my way of being in the world. I choose yoga – and the rest unfolds.
I became Yoga Alliance-certified in 2006, and left my job as a reporter shortly after. Heeding my inner voice, I devoted myself full-time to teaching and walking the path in a more authentic, intimate, spiritual, skillful and heart-centered way.
That is how yoga became my bread, butter – and honey (sukha).
Life is sweeter when I practice. Even when my hamstrings are cooked, my rotator cuffs temperamental, my pay cheque spent or my Third Eye blind. This journey is teaching me to stand on my hands, trust my feet, quiet my mind, turn to my heart, and embrace the Great Mystery of the Moment, with all of its seemingly intolerable quirks and improbable beauty.
My classes encourage safe, alignment-based exploration of postures and play. I hold space for conscious mind-body-breath work and empower students to attune to their own inner guide.
When I’m not spreading the word of Om around E-town or drinking fair-trade coffee with my yoga kula, you can find me living my practice in some other way – bargain hunting in the Whole Foods aisle; unpacking negative self-talk in traffic; purging my closet; nurturing my relationships; reading Rumi or writing my pet blog, 1000 Ways to be Happy thehappyquest.wordpress.com. See you on the mat!
Satwinder was born in India and raised in the tradition of Eastern Meditation and Chanting since early childhood. She began training in Kundalini Yoga with her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan Ph.D. in 1985. After a serious back injury in 1993, she began a period of intensive study with Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga, in New Mexico.
After successfully completing a 3-week program, Satwinder was renewed and vowed to make Kundalini Yoga part of her lifestyle. For Satwinder, the daily practice of Kundalini Yoga has been instrumental in helping her experience her current well-being and health. Having been so profoundly touched through the practice of Kundalini Yoga and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, she has felt a calling to pass on these teachings to others. “To me, Kundalini Yoga is ‘Soul Food’. We all take time to feed our physical body, and by practicing Kundalini Yoga, we feed our Soul”. She has International Kundalini Yoga Certification from Kundalini Reseach Institute, New Mexico and has been teaching for the last 12 years. Satwinder has additional training through the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology to teach people with Chronic Pain, Cancer, Diabetes and Immune Dysfunctions. People are touched by Satwinder’s open heart and compassionate energy. She often plays the Gong in her classes to magnify the effects of yoga and promote deep healing.
You can find out more about Kundalini Yoga and Satwinder’s classes on her website
“Service creates a permanent love & friendship. Self-discipline creates grace. And the
neutral mind creates wisdom. These are the rules of life” Yogi Bhajan.
At the change of the millennium I found myself soul searching which lead me to read many self help books. The books had me to considering yoga and meditation. I was receptive to meditation but yoga was not in my list of things to do. After much internal struggle with the thought of doing yoga I found myself at a yoga studio in my area.
I reluctantly attended my first class in 2003. It was quite an experience. I was carrying a few extra kilograms around the waistline and my forward fold was just a thought. Based on the gentleness of my first class I did not think that I would get much out of yoga. I thought it best suited for ladies and not men because men needed to do power exercises. My teacher was very understanding and urged me to keep coming to practice. I soon discovered that there was a practice called Ashtanga Yoga and decided to try it. I had difficulty adapting to the Ashtanga Yoga practice but developed a passion for it. With Ashtanga yoga I was able to get rid of the excess weight that I carried and was also able to better control my type 2 diabetes and also reduce my high cholesterol. Three years later I enrolled into the teachers training program and did the Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Program and the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Program simultaneously.
I have the good fortune to learn from esteemed teachers including Mark Darby, Doug Swenson, David Swenson, Tim Miller, Eddie Modestine, Nicki Doane, Kate Potter, Michael Stone, Janice Clarefield, Aadil Palkhivala as well as Rosemary Jeanes Antze.
I am a Laughter yoga teacher certified by Dr.Kataria School of Laughter.
I am Prenatal Certified, The Yoga Association of Alberta Certified as well as Yoga Alliance Certified.
Corinne (Indu) McNally
Corinne’s friendly and joyful personality brings honesty, humor, and an open heart to her teaching. She balances and integrates her flowing classes with breath, alignment, strength, and ease. With a communications and performing arts background, Corinne incorporates a love of yoga in all aspects of her life, including her work as a Certified Doula (DONA) and Thai Yoga Massage practitioner (RMT). In November 2009 Corinne traveled to Rishikesh, India and completed a 500 hour advanced teacher training from World Conscious Yoga Family with Yogi Vishvketu. She is extremely grateful for her transformational experience, as it has provided her with a solid foundation to continue her journey of self-discovery while assisting students to deepen, open and “let go”. Corinne is an Experience Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT500) with Yoga Alliance (YA), specializing in Yoga for Pregnancy.
Corinne is delighted to be teaching at Yoga Within and she feels blessed to be able to share the harmony and serenity that yoga brings to her life with others.
For more information on Doula care or Thai Yoga Massage please go to www.lotusmoonwellness.com.
Annika is a dedicated student of yoga and practices a blend of Hatha, Anusara, Bikram and Ashtanga methods. She took her Hatha teacher training at the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico, and is certified through Yoga Alliance.
Annika is also a licensed Occupational Therapist. This background has given her insight into various illnesses and individual abilities. Annika believes that each person is unique and will benefit the most from making each posture his/her own, coming into it from a slightly different angle or mind set. She hopes to use her knowledge of the body to guide others towards a greater self awareness.
Lori began her yoga journey in 2004 as a form of exercise. From that point on, her journey expanded to include the beginnings of the lifestyle of a yogi. Combining body and soul, Lori shares her learnings with everyone around her.
Lori graduated from Yoga for Today Hatha Teacher Training program in 2008. She has been teaching Hatha yoga ever since. Lori’s teaching is based on a well rounded workout, that includes strength, flexibility, and stamina, with a little bit of challenge thrown in. Grateful for the knowledge received from the esteemed teachers at Yoga for Today, as well as, Michael Stone, Robin Golt, Judith Lasater and Fiona Stang.
Yoga for Today Certified, Apprenticeship with Gerda Krebs.
My personal journey into the practice of yoga began in early 2008. I immersed myself in as many different classes and styles as possible and immediately observed changes in me that I thought would never change.
As I continued on my journey, I felt deeply inspired to share the gift of yoga with others. I am truly blessed to be given the opportunity to share with others the practice of yoga as a means to experience their true essence, their true Self. I’m dedicated to practicing and teaching yoga from the heart and passionate about inspiring others to explore, expand, grow and experience “bliss from within” through their own yoga practice. I believe that it is through this experience that we are enabled to live life with the greatest compassion and love for ourselves and others. Namaste!!
Registered Yoga Teacher (200 Hr. Hatha), Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (85 Hr.)
Additional training in: Kid’s Yoga, Mudras and Pranayama, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga
Natasha's first step onto a yoga mat in 2000 started out as a way for her and her family to spend time together. The registered class seemed to be filled with relatives and two strangers that were not a part of the weekly catching up. As for the class, Natasha found that yoga was not for her. She couldn't figure out how a person is supposed to breath through their nose for over an hour.
A few years later, she realized that there are so many different types of yoga and decided to incorporate yoga into her life. Through the years, the different types of yoga have been changing dramatically in what Natasha felt best suited her personality. It all started as a form of fitness and slowly developed into focusing more of
her attention on her mind, spirit and the relation to the body.
Natasha developed her own yoga routines while traveling and ended up teaching others. At this moment, Natasha realized that teaching yoga was what she was meant to be doing...and has never looked back :)
Natasha is certified through the Yoga Within 200 level program and also has training in Radiant Child Yoga and Shake Your Soul Yoga Dance (Leven Institute for Expressive Movement).
Karen is certified by the YAA and has been teaching yoga since Yoga Within opened in 2008.
Influenced by the Himalayan tradition, her style is gentle and brings strength, flexibility and peacefulness.
Karen also works as an Occupational Therapist.
It is said that ‘everything happens in its own time’. I hadn’t practiced yoga for many years, but after the loss of my father, I began to practice again. I would sometimes go to a class with a heavy heart but then leave the class with a light heart. What a beautiful gift.
As my yoga practice grew, I began to feel a desire to deepen my understanding of yoga and its effects on mind and body. At the encouragement of a dear friend, I enrolled in the teacher training program at Yoga Within. I completed the 200 hour Teacher Training program and am now a Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor.
I am also a Certified AFLCA Fitness Leader. This allows me to blend both fitness and yoga. Two of my favorite things!
I have been a runner for many years. Running distances ranging from 5km to 50km – I love them all! I believe yoga is a wonderful compliment to running and strength training. A balanced body has strength, flexibility and a peaceful mind.
I have been fortunate to learn from Gerda Krebs, Friedel Khattab, Rosemary Jeanes Antze, Aadil Palkhivala, Melanie Checknita and Marjorie O’Connor.
Shrina Patel has been dancing for 17 years. Shrina Patel has been dancing since childhood and has been been involved in numerous dance competitions throughout the years. From competitive Indian folk dance to Hip Hop styles such as locking, popping, whacking and L.A. style. Studying acting has really helped her transform her Bollywood / Filmi dance skills. She has experience in various styles of dance including ballroom dancing (fox trot, cha cha, and salsa). She has also danced competitively in Hip Hop style which explores housing, dance hall, and. Furthermore, Shrina is a licenced Zumba instructor, and she particularly enjoys this Brazilian art form, which fuses dance and cardio into one, to challenge even the fittest of people.
Tara is an Internationally Certified Yoga Instructor (since 1997) and Senior Teacher whose practice has taken her around the globe, serving in traditional ashrams surrounded by modern masters of yoga.
Tara has advanced certification in Raja Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita. She chants the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by heart, and plays an Indian instrument called a Shruti Box, which deepens relaxation and concentration, and "melts the brain into the heart".
Tara’s enthusiasm for yoga is infectious. Her passion for the Sanskrit language and traditional lineage teachings connect modern students to the roots of yoga. Her classes offer adaptations for all levels, encouraging each student to practice according to their own inner wisdom.
She has been sharing the origin, history and basic philosophy of Yoga for more than ten years in Yoga Alliance recognized Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Programs and is honored to be part of our new 500 hour Certification Program!
You can visit her blog Kali's Kitchen for recipes, resources, movies and more: http://yoga-tara.blogspot.ca/
My introduction to yoga was a flyer in the mailbox advertising a Hatha class at my community hall. Considering I just had just had a cast removed from my left leg and I couldn’t walk without a cane, I’m not really sure what possessed me to call the instructor. I explained my physical condition and without hesitation, she assured me that yoga could definitely help me. Let’s just say I was full of skepticism that first class!
Even though I had to modify nearly every pose and some postures were just ideas for a couple of months, I was hooked. I could feel my body changing: becoming more flexible and strong. My breathing became more relaxed, which is very important as I have asthma. Eventually my ankled healed and I haven’t looked back.
Fast forward 10 years to June 2011 when I completed my yoga teacher training at Yoga Within. I have learned so much over the years taking classes with many wonderful teachers including Catherine Bunton, Melanie Checknita, Friedel Khattab, Hanna Soule, and Tara Woltjen. I am always amazed at how yoga colours every aspect of my life - whether I’m struggling to still my mind in Savasana, playing ball hockey, or sharing a conversation with friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to guide students along their yoga journey.
Yoga Alliance certified
Sharon is passionate about yoga and the role it plays in our wellbeing. This compassionate yoga teacher is a cancer survivor and certified in Yoga Thrive – a hatha yoga programme designed for people in cancer treatment, for survivors and their care-givers. The classes are gentle and address many of the impacts of the disease and treatments. Off the mat, you find her engaged in artistic or athletic pursuits with family and friends. Namaste.
Beginning yoga was for me a feeling of arriving home to a familiar, calm and comforting place, and at the same time, a feeling of starting a remarkable journey of discovery, adventure and serenity. I graduated from Melanie Checknita’s Hatha Yoga Teacher Training program in June 2011 and am delighted to continue learning and teaching at Yoga Within.
With a background in psychology and over 40 years experience working with babies, children and adults, including those with special needs, it is a joy to share my passionate belief that yoga can be of benefit to anyone, on many different levels, regardless of age or ability.
My gratitude goes to the people at Yoga Within for ongoing enthusiasm and support for “all things yoga”, and to the many esteemed teachers who have shared their yoga wisdom: Gerda Krebs, Friedel Khattab, Rosemary Antze, Judith Lasater, Aadil Palkhivala, Tara Woltjen, and most of all to Melanie, who taught me to listen to and to trust that inner voice!
I started yoga in my mid-forties, during a time of transition in many aspects of my life. My original motivation was to find an exercise class that I might actually enjoy, but I quickly realized that yoga involves so much more. As I drove home from the very first class and found myself consciously relaxing my shoulders out of my ears, I realized that yoga doesn’t end with our time on the mat. Over the years, I have taken classes in various styles of yoga, but it’s classic Hatha yoga that truly allows me to make the mind/body connection, keeping me grounded and healthy. Since completing the 200-hour teacher training course at Yoga Within in 2012, I feel honoured to be able to transmit the collective wisdom of all my wonderful yoga teachers to students in my classes.